Almanack Contributor Brendan Wiltse

Brendan Wiltse

Brendan Wiltse is the Science & Stewardship Director for the Ausable River Association and a professional conservation photographer. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Queen's University in Canada. While not out on the water studying Adirondack lakes and streams, he is often roaming the Wilderness with his camera and dog. You can view is photography at www.brendanwiltse.com


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: Silver Lake Mountain

BJW_3902After spending years tromping around the High Peaks and living in the Johns Brook Valley, I take delight in visiting the smaller and often lesser known mountains. Silver Lake Mountain is just north of Taylor Pond (middle of the photograph). At 1.8 miles round-trip it makes a perfect hike to do after work. You don’t see many high peaks, but you do have a good view of Whiteface and the unique combination of big mountains and large bodies of water. Just behind Taylor Pond is Catamount, another great mountain to check out. What is your favorite mountain outside of the high peaks?


Friday, June 20, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: A View Of Avalanche Lake

BJW_3767
As a general rule it is best to avoid taking landscape shots in the middle of the day. The harsh light and lack of contrast across the landscape doesn’t usually make for interesting shots. That said, you need to know when to break the rules as well. This shot of Avalanche Lake was taken mid-day, but the ominous clouds in the distance added a lot of mood to the scene.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Kiwassa Lake During the Blue Hours

BJW_3758(2)
You may have heard of the “Golden Hours” in terms of landscape photography. This is the period of time just after sunrise and just before sunset. You will find warmer colors and greater contrast across a landscape scene during this time. There is also the “Blue Hours,” which occur just before sunrise and just after sunset. During this time the colors get cooler across the landscape, shadows decrease, and there is less contrast. The Blue Hours are in some respects more difficult to shoot but can give a lot of mood to a scene.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring In The Adirondacks: Fiddlehead

FiddleheadSpring is an exciting time of year. The forest seems to abound with new life, radiating with new sights, sounds, and smells. I recently went for a walk to photograph the early spring wildflowers in bloom around Heart Lake and Mount Jo. Heavy winds made photographing the flowers difficult. The fiddleheads on the other hand were more stable and offered the opportunity to capture the brilliant detail found in the young leaves just starting to emerge from the coil of the fiddlehead. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Deer Brook: Photographing Water In Springtime

BJW_3567Spring time brings higher water levels in the streams, brooks, and rivers in the area.  This makes for a great opportunity to capture waterfalls and babbling brooks.  The trick to these shots is a long shutter speed, which blurs the flowing water, giving it that silky smooth look.  The effect will start to appear at around a 5 second exposure; the photo above is a 30 second exposure.  To get exposures this long you will want to reduce your ISO (100), use a larger aperture (f11), and shoot in low-light.  Typically it is best to shoot these photos in early morning or late evening.  Adding a neutral density (ND) filter will allow you to shoot in brighter conditions.  This photo was shot with a 10 stop ND filter at around 10am.  Finally, long exposures such as this will require a tripod or resting the camera on a solid surface.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: Spring Skiing In The Backcountry

adirondack backcountry skiing

Last weekend we got a few inches of wet heavy snow, followed by a week of blue bird days with temperatures well above freezing.  This made for nearly perfect conditions for backcountry skiing.  A telephoto lens allowed me to capture this shot of a skier descending a slide in the backcountry.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: Skiing Marcy Brook

Skiing Marcy BrookWith over 18” of recent snowfall the skiing in the High Peaks has been excellent.  Yesterday I went for an afternoon ski down the Mr. Van Ski Trail from the Adirondak Loj.  This photo is of a skier heading upstream on Marcy Brook towards an open area with good views of Mount Colden and Wright Peak.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Night Sky Over Heart Lake

BJW_3304

Last night was perfect for viewing the stars over large portions of the Adirondacks.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blue Skies At The St. Regis Fire Tower

St Regis Mountain Fire Tower in WinterBluebird days make for great opportunities to photograph the striking contrast between the blue sky and snow.  Typically photographing mid-day produces lack luster photographs.  A polarizing filter will help cut the harshness of the light and produce a deep blue sky. Regardless of whether you are interested in photography, days such as these should be spent outside, not behind a desk.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The MacIntyre Range in Winter

IndianFallsClear skies, moderate temperatures, and a recent snowfall have made for very enjoyable conditions in the backcountry.  Saturday afternoon I skied up to Indian Falls and captured this shot of the MacIntyre Range.  The skiing was good, the only issue was a few trees down across the ski trail below Indian Falls.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Signs of an Unstable Snowpack in the Backcountry

Adirondack AvalanchesWhile out skiing yesterday afternoon I saw several signs that the snowpack is unstable and extreme caution should be used if you are tempted to head towards the slides after this recent snowfall.

I came across numerous small slides, such as the one in this photograph, on N and NW aspects at slopes as low as 25 degrees.

Whooping and shooting cracks were prevalent. I was skiing the trees but any turns made near a convex roll produced a small slide.  If you venture into avalanche terrain make sure you have the knowledge to assess the risk, know proper travel techniques, and are carrying a beacon, probe, shovel, and the knowledge to use them.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Leave No Trace: Don’t Feed Wildlife

DSCN0174Happening upon this scene brought mixed emotions. I love the weasel family (Mustelidae), especially the American Marten (Martes americana), so I was naturally excited to be able to get so close to this one. That was only because someone had left a pile of dog food at a campsite. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Brendan Wiltse: The Early Winter View From Mount Jo

DSC_3016In my opinion Mount Jo has one of the highest reward per effort ratios of any mountain in the Adirondacks.  I’ve hiked all of the High Peaks, but none of them are my favorite mountains.  Standing on a “lesser” peak affords one a better perspective of the topography of the landscape.  While Mount Marcy has a wonderful and enjoyable summit, something is lost when you are looking down on all the mountains, rather than at – or up – at them.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Wintery Mount Marcy Snowscape

IMGP1154_2_3While on a mid-week ski tour in February 2009 I found the summit of Mount Marcy covered in untouched windblown snow.  It made for difficult skiing, but the shape and texture of the snow, along with a deep blue later afternoon sky, made for an excellent photograph.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Photographing The Night Sky Over Whiteface

Night Sky over WhitefaceNight photography has always fascinated me.  Photography is all about light and I can’t help but wonder how long that light has journeyed through space before hitting the sensor on my camera.  The following were the camera settings used: f3.5, 30sec, ISO 3200.